Shingles is a skin rash you may have heard much about – how ‘awful’ it is!

 Since now there is a vaccine for this viral infection you doctor may want you to have it. Like any other healthcare decision you should be well informed before agreeing.

Your health care provider should have time to give you the low down on this disease.


DocHandal shares some basic facts you should know:

-Caused by the same virus (Herpes Zoster) that gave you Chickenpox as a child

Shingles pain varies and starts before you can see the rash-tingling, burning itching

-Next fluid filled blisters appear

-Very variable healing 2-6 weeks

-Rash never crosses to other side of your body/face

-Pain of rash lessens as skin lesions heal, but can disappear leaving pain for months

-There is a vaccine (since 2006) it is a live, (altered) vaccine. This means the live, disease-producing virus was weakened, in the lab so produce immunity (antibodies in our blood) without causing us to become ill. Recommended for those of us over 60 and covered by insurance including Medicare it is injected into upper arm. One shot with minimal side effects, BUT it is only 50% effective in preventing Shingles.

-Zoster vaccine is not for everyone- contraindications include those with allergies to certain antibiotics, or allergy to gelatin used in vaccine to name a few. Always be clear on what are the contraindications to any procedure, test or care plan.

PLEASE ask for specifics before you say YES to this vaccine.